It is believed that there are between 32 and 50 species of seahorses (genus Hippocampus) in the world. The Pygmy Seahorse was discovered in 1969 by Georges Bargibant when he found a pair of them attached to a gorgonian sea fan. Bargibant collected the animals and brought them to the Nouméa Aquarium in New Caledonia (Lourie and Randall 2003).
     As can be seen in the first phylogenetic tree on the Classification page, Hippocampus bargibanti is an early- diverging lineage in the Hippocampus genus. From the later phylogenetic tree, it can be seen that the Syngnathidae group not only includes seahorses, but pipefish as well. After that, the most recent common ancestor is the Ghost pipefish. Pipefish are very similar to seahorses , but are more of a worm shape.
     Breeding for the Pygmy seahorse happens year round and like all organisms in the Hippocampus genus, the male carries the fertilized eggs in its brood. The process begins by the female inserting what would look like male genetalia in most other organisms into the male’s brood and placing the eggs. The male then fertilizes the eggs and cultivates them in its brood. The gestation period for Hippocampus bargibanti is about two weeks and its brood size is usually about 34 young from one male (Lourie and Foster 2004).
     Bargibant’s seahorses are often found in pairs or groups, as their breeding lasts year round. They have been found with up to 28 on a single gorgonian fan (Lourie and Foster 2004).

To learn how this pigmy seahore interacts with other species, click here.

To go back to the home page, click here.